Hope

I didn’t know how I would be affected by a trip to Israel. I thought that maybe it might be some famous temple, some cultural experience, or maybe meeting one of Israel’s leaders or technologists that would have touched me.

I wasn’t prepared for what did: a pair of piercing black eyes that belong to “Michael,” a boy a little younger than my own son, Patrick, who is 14. I was asked not to share names or photos by the people who introduced us. See, Michael’s eyes told me they had witnessed things that young eyes shouldn’t witness.

He was one of a group of students from Darfur who were studying at the Rogozin School in Tel Aviv. Here’s an article (PDF, sorry) that talks about the school and its Darfur refugees. A remarkable school where kids from 29 different countries study together.

Michael told me about his studies, introduced me to his classmate sitting next to him. I asked him if he knew how to use a computer. I knew my few moments with Michael were ticking away, our tour guides had other things for us to see and I wanted to be able to hear more about his dreams. His future. He answered that he did, and knew how to use email and the Web.

This young boy’s eyes showed me deep wisdom that will serve him well later in life. They gave me hope for the future. I hope I live long enough to see Michael become a leader of a new Israel: one where Palestinians and Israelis and Arabs live together in peace. He’s seen that future already. In the classroom.

Don’t think technology is important? What will your answer to Michael be when he emails you and asks you to join the peace movement?

Will you leave those penetrating wise eyes wanting?

Not me, I gave him my email address. I hope he writes and tells me about the future. His future. Why?

It gives me hope.